Cryotherapy at CryoLuxe: Is the Juice Worth the Freeze?

I’m about to go full Elsa on you here talkin’ about CRYOTHERAPY.  

Full disclosure: the cold DOES bother me, Elsa.  I’m trying to remember why I still live in Chicago where the weather is cold most of the year, but back to the topic at hand!  With all of the associated health benefits and my curiosity for all that is wellness related, I was super excited to try Cryo at CryoLuxe for the first time. 

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Why in tarnation would someone want to do this?

Lots of reasons, actually! Before I dive into my personal experience, let me give you some background on these associated health benefits I just mentioned.  Basically, the science behind the therapy is that being cold will reduce inflammation.  Reducing inflammation helps improve circulation.  You may have heard of athletes taking ice baths or maybe you’ve even put that pack of frozen peas on an injured muscle… same concept. 

Cryo, however, uses nitrogen vapor to get.. well, REALLY friggin’ cold.  Down to temps as low as 200 degrees below zero for up to 3 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly.


There is science behind this therapy, although, more research is needed to support all of the claimed health benefits. For the purposes of this blog, I’m just going to share with you my personal experience and how I felt, but I always encourage you to do your own research! The other suggested benefits straight from CryoLuxe’s website include:

-quicker tissue repair

-less inflammation and/or pain

-sometimes used for treatment of autoimmune disorders (arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia)

-accelerated production of collagen and reduced appearance of cellulite (WHAT?!)

-metabolism boost, burning up to 800cals

 

What to Expect.

SO. Now to my first visit. I arrived at CryoLuxe in the South Loop of Chicago and was greeted at the desk by a friendly staff member.  Staff members are trained in how to operate the chambers.  I was quickly escorted to the Cryotherapy chamber and provided a gown, socks, boots and gloves to change into.  I was instructed I could keep on undergarments if I wished and guided through what the session would be like.  The staff member then informed me that I would be under supervision for the entire treatment and could ask to stop the treatment at anytime. The last 30 seconds are the coldest, FYI.  You keep the gloves and boots/socks on during treatment and just remove your robe.  Naturally, I chose to keep my beanie on because it couldn’t hurt, right? 

 

The staff member asked for my height and set up the step inside to make sure my head would remain out of the chamber (much appreciated) and I got in!  Having someone supervise you is awesome because… safety, but also because it’s a distraction!  I was chatty Cathy asking questions to try to distract myself from the severe cold.  However, I pride myself on being a bit of a bad*ss so I was determined to make the full 3 minutes.  I asked questions about recovery, benefits, how often sessions were recommended and then suddenly… my 3 minutes were up!  Seriously, it’s only 3 minutes which is pretty cool!  The cryo chamber was shut off, my gown handed to me and the door opened and the staff member left me to get changed back into my clothes.  Done aaaaand done.

Did I feel any different after?

Afterwards, I immediately felt like I’d been on a run in the cold weather.  You know when your legs are kinda tingly?  Yeah, that.  But I also felt… PUMPED.  Hello endorphins!  Or was that adrenaline?  Probably both.  This mini-high went on for a while after my session.  I also felt a sense of calm as the day went on and by bedtime I was ready for and was ABLE to get a good nights sleep! 

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My other sessions following were very similar to this.  I even went on the coldest day so far here in Chicago, but that day I gave myself a break and only did 2 minutes. I still felt pretty great after!  I typically went for a session of cryo after a hard workout or when I was sore.  I remember after one yoga class in particular where my knee had been giving me some trouble… the aching was totally gone after the session.  Kid. You. Not. My muscles were less sore the next day.  And I didn’t have trouble falling asleep which can occasionally be difficult for me!  It’s hard to turn this brain off sometimes... 

Last Word.

SO, final thoughts.  I dug it!  I workout just about every day and an improvement in muscle recovery or achy joints is more than worth it to me. The energy boost after was pretty great, too.  ALWAYS check with your healthcare provider first because there are some health conditions where it may not be advised, but if you’ve ever been curious or have any pesky symptoms, such as achy joints, muscles, headaches… give Cryotherapy a try!!  Elsa would be proud. Please forgive me for all of the Frozen references. Let me know if you’ve ever tried Cryotherapy or would give it a try!




Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Chill Out and Make the World a Better Place

 

My session began with the staff offering me tea.  I chose the mint tea.  SO GOOD.  Then I sat in the lounge while the workshop was setup.  I checked out some candles, bath products that all smelled like heaven.  I sat in a chair swing for a bit and zoned out before moving myself into the back room with lounge cushions next to a fountain where I listened to the calming sound of flowing water while sipping my mint tea.  When the workshop was ready I went in the room to discover cushions big enough to lie down on and then I had 60 minutes of pure bliss.  Half of the workshop was just the sound of crystal bowls (which if you don't know what those are, I encourage you to check it out) and half a guided meditation.  A whole hour of meditation was a gift I don't often give myself and it was SO worth it.

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This was my recent experience at Chill Chicago (check them out here), a local meditation, yoga and massage center in Chicago.  A peaceful environment, but the real reason I went was to help find the peace within.  

Ahh peace.  Something we're always seeking externally that is actually hidden within.  I've been feeling somewhat turbulent, heavy energy lately.. (since the Mercury Retrograde really, if you're into that sort of thing..) and it's been pushing me towards more grounding activities.  More yoga practice.  More meditation.  More deep breaths and slowing down... which isn't easy for me.  The slowing down.  In times of turbulence in the past I never really used to respond this way.  I responded to overwhelming energies pretty mindlessly, not even thinking about it.  Not that I've mastered the art of constantly being at peace, but I'd say this is growth.  

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So in this instance I decided to book myself a Crystal Healing Bowl Meditation workshop over at Chill Chicago and I was inspired to share my experience and journey to meditation with all of you.

 

I'll spare you the details, but have you ever been through a dark or chaotic time in your life?  OF COURSE YOU HAVE.  We all have.  That's life.  There are highs and lows.  Chaos can come from both.  And sometimes we deal with chaos in not-so-healthy ways.  My whole life I had never really thought about dealing with chaotic times in any way whatsoever.  I was kind of just floating around and dealing with things in probably not-so-healthy ways, without really intended to.  Until I discovered meditation.  And I realized I could calm myself in moments of chaos and choose what energy to take on and what to let go.  HOW. FREEING.  Not that it's that easy in a world of chaos to find the quiet... it's a practice you have to make some time and space for.

 

 

 

 

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Luckily, meditation centers, like Chill Chicago, are popping up and we need them more than ever.  Especially in America!  America is a great country, but I think we are behind in that we still "live to work" rather than "work to live."  We are stressed.  And hurried.  WE NEED TO CHILL.  And enjoy life.  Otherwise, what's the point?

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Not to mention the physical and mental effects that not chilling out are having on our health.  As a Registered Dietitian, I am passionate about holistic health and I believe healthcare should focus on mind, body and spirit and sometimes I truly believe stress effects us more than even what we eat or if we exercise.  Obviously, I'm saying that with a grain of salt... nutrition and physical activity are hugely important, but we tend to ignore the stress factor.  Physically stress manifests in increasing cortisol in the body leading to holding on to more adipose tissue along with a number of other issues.  Mentally, stress can manifest in depression, anxiety and, in extreme cases, crazy acts of violence.  

 

The thing is, when you meditate, it causes you to focus on the present moment.  When you focus on the present moment, it tends to interrupt feelings of depression over things that happened in the past and anxiety over what might happen in the future.  It quiets down that mindless chatter our brains make that cause us to be preoccupied on things that are over or things that haven't even and may never actually happen.  Mediation helps the brain quiet the chatter and feel the joy of just simply being. 

 

In my own experience, I find myself going towards breath and meditation in times of stress or if someone ticks me off.  I mean, not always.  I still swear a lot in traffic.... it's an ongoing practice... :)  But the fact that I think to do that at all is pretty impressive to me! 

 

The really cool thing is, this isn't just my opinion, but research studies are looking into the benefits of meditation and yoga on mental health issues and finding positive results!  I'm hoping to see the day where meditation becomes a regular part of the school day and becomes part of the norm. It's becoming more main stream and hell, if this is the newest "trend" so be it!  People are already out there complaining about the commercialization of yoga and I'm sure meditation to follow.  I get where they're coming from to a point, BUT if it helps a whole lot of people WHO GIVES A FLYING F.  Commercialize awayyyy as far as I'm concerned.  Again, people just need something to chatter about.  Less talky, more meditatey please.  

 

And on that note, I think I should take my own advice and wrap it up here.  But if you can find 10 minutes or more in your day to give to yourself, welcome meditation into your life.  And if you have an amazing center near you like Chill Out Chicago, take your lunch break there!  Meditate, lay back for a couple minutes or just get a chair massage!  Notice how the rest of your day after that changes.  And thank me later for your newfound zen. ;-)  

 

Wishing you all so much love and light and peace.


Stay Wild,

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Danielle

 

MS, RDN, LDN

 

 

Grain-Free Chilaquiles Brunchin'!

Ever have one too many cocktails or glasses of wine and find yourself with a case of the munchies?  Life hack: keep Siete Foods grain-free chips in the house for these emergencies.  Guilt-free pig out!  :-P

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But anyway, I eat Siete Foods tortillas and chips daily in one way or another.  I think I might even go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite homemade alternatives thus far.  I love going to an amazing brunch spot and ordering chilaquiles, but since it's a pretty heavy dish this doesn't happen that often.  Thanks to Siete Foods, I made my own version at home with all the healthy alternatives! 

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Ingredients:

-1 egg, cooked over-easy

-Better Bean Co black beans

-1/2 avocado

-2 tbsp. diced red onion

-1/2 tsp onion powder

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1/4 cup fresh salsa

-1/2 jalapeno, sliced

-2 tbsp. cilantro

-10-15 Siete Nacho grain-free tortilla chips

-1/4 cup Siggi's plain Greek yogurt

-Vegan cheese (optional)

Instructions:  So while the egg was cookin on the griddle... I made the guac.  Mash the avo and mix it up with the diced onion, cayenne pepp and onion powder.  When the egg is almost done, throw some Siete Foods grain-free chips on the stove top, too, with coconut or avocado oil until they look a little toasted and browned.  Throw the chips on a plate and pour salsa over them (I used store bought from Whole Foods because I like to be crafty, but I'm also a busy lady).  Plop the egg right over the chips and salsa, sprinkle with jalepnos and greek yogurt, which is replacing sour cream.  Put a dollop of Better Bean Co black beans and your guac on the side (with optional vegan cheese sprinkled over).  Sprinkle cilantro and voila!  Served here with a bulletproof coffee and 1/2 grapefruit with a little coconut sugar because I've been on a grapefruit kick.  Enjoy the guilt-free crunch this weekend, y'all!!

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Bedtime Snacking... Yay or Nay?

“So, you’re not supposed to eat after a certain time of night, right?” 

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I get asked this ALL. THE. TIME.  And my answer is always the same... “It depends.” 

 

First of all, if you know me and my nutrition philosophy, you know I don’t think there really is a “supposed to” when it comes to nutrition and, also, that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.  However, the answer to this question can depend on what you’ve been eating the rest of the day. 

 

For instance, are you snacking because you’ve had balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and want something to hold you over through the night?  Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, which would make bedtime snacking potentially very important?  Or did you skip meals all day and are now starving and just want to cram some junk food down to fill the void from the lack of nutrients all day?   Or are you emotionally eating?   Or maybe something I haven’t listed here, but the point is.. there are a lot of things that can contribute to whether snacking at bedtime is a good or not so necessary idea, but I would always redirect someone back to mindful eating.  Ask yourself if you’re eating because your body is need of some fuel or are you eating because of boredom, stress, etc.? 

 

All that being said… bedtime snacking CAN be beneficial and even lead to a better night's sleep!  HOORAY (that’s what you wanted to hear, right?)!  Let me tell you how...

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Use my code "DGW" for 20% off  Drink Sleepy Head

Use my code "DGW" for 20% off Drink Sleepy Head

The first thing is… you want to make sure your snacking is part of a balanced day.  Meaning you’ve been eating nutritious, balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and haven’t been over doing it.  The second thing is, making sure the snack is balanced and nutritious itself.  So, probably not ice cream or chips (every now and then.. yes, of course indulge because balance is important, but not on the reg).   When I say “balanced” snack I mean a snack composed of a variety of macronutrients (protein, healthy fat/complex carbs).  This is important because a balanced snack will slow digestion, keeping you satisfied longer, offer more nutrition and regulate blood sugars better throughout the night which can help you sleep better throughout the night, too... wink, wink. 

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Here are some ideas for healthy snacking:

-Apple and almond butter

-Grain free crackers or veggies and hummus

-Gran free chips and guac/salsa/bean dip

-Greek yogurt with fruit and grain-free granola

-1/2 a sandwich

-Certain health bars

-Drink Sleepyhead hot bevs along with one of these tasty snacks to help you wind down and get a good night’s rest

-Handful of mixed nuts

-Energy balls

 

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Sweet Potato Avo Quesadillas

Yeahhhhh baby... THESE. ARE. LIT. 

I got my vegans, my vegetarians and all my foodies that just plain like food because I think these are quite tasty for everyone.  Just like most of my recipes, simple and REAL ingredients.  You can add cilantro if you're a cilantro person.  I feel like most people are strongly for or strongly against it.  I'm pro-cilantro, but just didn't have it on hand.  Still making use of this amazing cashew cheddar, too!  I made another batch just for this. WORTH IT. 

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Ingredients:

-1 small sweet potato

-1/2 avocado, sliced

-2 Siete tortillas (I used cassava and chia tortillas)

- Cayenne Pepper

-My Cashew Cheddar (recipe linked here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the side: Primal Kitchen RANCH dressing made with Avocado Oil for dipping (*not vegan, but IS Paleo, Whole 30, Keto friendly and dairy-free).  Check out all of Primal Kitchen's tasty products and purchase HERE:

Instructions:

Microwave or bake the sweet potato until it's soft enough to easily cut (approx 3 minutes).  Cut into 1/4 inch chunks.  Put one tortilla down on a skillet or lightly greased pan.  Spread 2 Tbsp of my Cashew Cheddar.  Then add sweet potato chunks and avocado slices.  Spread the cashew cheddar over the other tortilla and top the second tortilla directly over the first, like a lid.  Turn on the burner and grill on one side for approx. 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Carefully transfer to a plate and cut into quarters.  Dip in Primal Kitchen's RANCH dressing and it's EXTRA good.

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Cashew Cheesin'

My Vitamix adventures continue!

And I'm a BIG fan of this one... creamy cashew cheddar.  It's seriously amazing.  I try to limit dairy MOST of the time.  Pizza is one of my favorite splurges, as are wine and cheese nights, but in my day-to-day I really don't consume dairy. 

I served mine over lentil pasta (also good) and it totally hit the "mac & cheese" spot. 

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Ingredients:

-1 1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews (soaked in water for 8 hours)

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-1/2 cup roasted butternut squash

-1/4 cup nutritional yeast

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-1/4 cup canned Pimiento peppers

-lemon juice (1/4 lemon)

-1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

-1/8 tsp nutmeg

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1/4 cup water

 

 

 

Instructions: Throw everything in the Vitamix or food processor.  Turn on at speed 1 and slowly increase to speed 7.  Then turn on High for 3 minutes.  You will get a hot, creamy faux-cheese.  Pour over your favorite pasta or use as a dip for nachos.  :)

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Salmon with Pesto Fettuccine

Since I've gotten my Vitamix, I've been on a mission to try new recipes semi-regularly.  I had my heart set on homemade pesto, but the store was out of basil for 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  I think this is where we hashtag #firstworldproblems but ANYWHO... it was back in stock this week so I made this bomb dish.  It's super simple.  Super basic. And, thanks to Vitamix, super easy to make!

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Disclaimer: the pasta is store-bought almond flour (paleo friendly) and the salmon was grilled with just olive oil, salt and pepper.  I seasoned with parsley on top, as well.

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Ingredients:

-3 Tbsp pine nuts

-2 cups basil

-1.5 tsp minced garlic

-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Throw all of it in the Vitamix/food processor and blend.  For Vitamix, gradually turn up from setting 1 to 7.  For Vitamix, use the Tamper ("wand thingy" as I like to call it) as needed to maneuver all of the basil leaves/nuts into the blades to blend.   Serve over pasta... on homemade pizza.... maybe some pesto chicken... go nuts!

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Cranberry Compote Sauce

I didn't know whether to call this, "Cranberry Compote," Or "Cranberry Sauce," soo.... Cranberry Compote Sauce it is!  Some of y'all may LOVE canned cranberry.  I know there's some of you weirdos out there (kidding :P ).  But every year when that cranberry comes to the table I wish I made my dang own.  And I've been majorly procrastinating because I should've made this around Thanksgiving, but point is... I made it!  And it's soooo easy.  Here we go...

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Ingredients:

-1 12oz bag cranberries

-1 cup coconut sugar

-1 cup water

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-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

-dash of pink Himalyan sea salt

-dash of cinnamon

Instructions: In a pot, whisk together water, coconut sugar and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, whisk in cinnamon and salt.  Then add in cranberries and lower to a simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.  You will hear the cranberries poppin'.  After about 10 minutes, use a potato masher (or a fork like I did) to mash up the cranberries to desired consistency.  Turn off heat, but leave the pot on the burner to cool for 20-30 minutes.   Enjoy as a jam on toast or sauce on meats!

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Easy Homemade Hummus

My love affair with the Vitamix continues... 

It's just....

so...

EASY TO USE.  It's almost toooooo easy, but I mean that in a great way.  This time I made some homemade hummus.

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas (low-sodium) WITH the liquid

-1/4 cup tahini, stirred (homemade or store bought)

-1/4 cup lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)

-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1/4 heaping tsp cumin

-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 tsp salt

Toppings for Serving:

-paprika

-parsley

Instructions:   Set 2 Tbsp chickpeas off to the side for serving.  Place the remaining chickpeas and liquid, along with all of the other ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt) into your Vitamix or food processor.  Turn Vitamix on regular setting starting at setting 1 and slowly moving up to 10.   Smooth until well blended; if necessary add in a little more liquid for consistency.  Pour into a serving bowl and place the chickpeas you set aside in the center.  Sprinkle with Paprika and parsley.  Serve with veggies or pita chips or whatever the heck you want! 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Autumn Squash Soup in Winter

YOU GUYS!  Wow.  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  I can't believe it's almost New Years! This little blog baby always kind of gets the back burner to the business of my life, but I'm going to work on changing that in 2018 (one of my "intentions" because resolutions are so overrated). 

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ANYWHO.. for Christmas I got a new Vitamix and I. AM. PUMPED.  I've been wanting to make this healthier version of Panera's delicious Autumn Squash Soup since, well.. autumn.  I didn't think my Nutribullet could handle it, though.  So as soon as I got this baby... SOUP TIME. 

I'm gonna keep it real here.. this is pretty good, but I may tweak something the next time I make it.  Can't quite put my finger on what's missing... maybe if you make this and notice you can let me know what it needs.  Maybe cassava flour.. something to ponder.  Overall, a great homemade soup with healthy, real food ingredients (and less money.. let's be real). 

Ingredients:

-4 to 5 cups cut butternut squash (I got the pre-cut because cutting butternut squash is kind of a pain in the you-know-what)

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-1 can pumpkin puree

-2 medium gala apples

-1 small sweet onion

-2.5 cups vegetable or bone broth (I used Vital Proteins Bone Broth)

-1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (or 1 cup apple cider/juice)

-2 Tbsp honey

-2 Tbsp virgin olive oil

-1tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp ginger

-1/2 tsp curry powder

-1/2 tsp turmeric

-few dashes pink Himalayan sea salt

-few dashes black pepper

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Instructions: Chop the apples, quarter the onion, chop the squash if not precut).  Drizzle and coat with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool for approx. 10 mins (I removed mine from the pan and let cool back in the bowl (I used to coat with olive oil).  Add pumpkin and apple cider vinegar to the blender (Vitamix, etc).  Once cooled, add the roasted veggies.  Slowly increase Vitamix speed from 1 to 10, then turn to High setting for ~1 minute.  You may need to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of your blender.   Pour pureed mixture into a large stovetop pot.  Add in veggie or bone broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat).  Once boiling, add in honey and spices.  Lower to a simmer and stir occasionally for another 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in plain greek yogurt (this replaces the heavy cream and butter you might otherwise have added).  Top with pepitas and enjoy! 

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Stay Wild and Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Chili Today, Hot Tamale...

I don't know 'bout where y'all are at, but in Chicago it is gloomy and chilly.  The cold and rain have kicked in, the days are getting shorter and darker and I just want to be cozy AF.  But this time of year means at least one awesome thing... CHILI SEASON.  I made this healthier version (which could totally be a vegan version, as well, if you leave out the meat and bone broth).  Now I've got a huge full pot that I will be eating for the next foreseeable future and life is good. 

Ingredients: 

-2.5lbs ground lean turkey

-1 red bell pepper, chopped

-2 green bell peppers, chopped

-1 large jalapeno, diced and seeds removed

-1 medium yellow onion, diced

-4 cloves garlic, diced

-4 cans reduced sodium kidney beans, unstrained

-2 cans diced tomatoes, unstrained

-1 can tomato paste

-1/4 cup organic ketchup

-1 Tbsp light organic maple syrup

-2 Tbsp chili powder

-2 Tbsp coriander

-1 Tbsp cumin

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-4 tsp hot sauce (more or less depending how spicy you like it)

-1/2 cup Vital Proteins bone broth (or red wine)

Toppings: Kitehill chive cream cheese, avocado, Nutritional Yeast, Seite Foods Nacho chips

 

Instructions: I used a Dutch Oven on the stove top.  Brown ground turkey first with seasonings (chili powder, cumin, coriander, sea salt, black pepper and diced onions) for flavor.  Once turkey is browned, stir in other diced veggies (peppers, jalapeno, garlic), light maple syrup and bone broth or red wine.  Once stirred in, add kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup and hot sauce.  Let simmer on low on the stove top for 1-2 hours.  Then DIG IN.  I topped mine with lots of goodies because loaded chili is what's up. 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Sweet Potato Squash Smoothie

HALLOWEEEEEEN.  So, Halloween is actually my absolute favorite holiday.  I used to throw Halloween parties annually and make jello shots for everyone.  This was quite a few years ago now (so quit judging me), but I still LOVE to celebrate Halloween and fall (when Mother Nature actually gives us fall).  So post my yoga-sculpt class I decided....  It's fall.  It's Halloween.  Time to step away from my green smoothie for a minute and get seasonal with this orangey goodness.  

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Ingredients:

-1/2 small organic sweet potato

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-6 frozen butternut squash cubes 

-2 diced roasted carrots seasoned in cinnamon and sea salt

-1/2 cup frozen cauliflower

-1/4 cup cashew milk

-1/4 cup water

-dash of pumpkin pie spice

- 1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-1 scoop Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey

Instructions: BLEND, BABY, BLEND.  Topped with grain free pumpkin granola and delicious Manna Organics Cinnamon & Date Nut Butter and Coconut flakes.  

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls

Pumpkin e'rythang, AMIRITE?!  So these are actually SERIOUSLY delish, you guys.  SRSLY.   Like, how can they be good for me and taste this good delish.  If you haven't gotten on the energy ball train yet, hop aboard.  I've made others in the past and just to reiterate.. they make great pre-workout bites and or snacks/desserts.  These particular ones are on the sweeter side, but it's pumpkin season and I have a lot of organic canned pumpkin left over so I gotta get creative and along came these...

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Ingredients:

-1/4 cup organic cashews

-1/2 cup oats

-1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin

-1/4 cup organic maple syrup

-2 scoops Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey (click here to purchase)

-1/2 cup Nut butter/Peanut butter

-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

-1/4 cup almond flour

 

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Instructions: Blend oats and cashews until you get a powder (flour-like consistency).  In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, maple syrup and nut butter.  Stir until combined and then add the oat/cashew powder.  Stir in chia seeds, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, and almond flour.   Consistency will be stickyyyyy.  So let chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins.  Remove and roll into balls about 3/4" in size.  Store in the fridge and enjoy one before your workout or in between meals as a snack.  Party, party, party....

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Holistic Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Speakinig of basic… IT’S FINALLY FALL!!! Bring on bonfires and football (and playoff baseball… I see you, Cubbies <3).  But mostly… Pumpkin Spice Latte madness is upon us and I’m not mad about it.  But TBH, I don’t really ever go out and order a PSL.  They’re usually so loaded with crap that it takes the fun out of it for me.  So this season I decided… PFFT!  I’ll make my own.  Now you can, too!

 

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Ingredients:

-1 good, strong cup o’ joe

-1/2 cup nut milk (I used cashew)

-I scoop Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (click to get some)

-1 Tbsp canned pumpkin

-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp organic honey

 

Instructions: Brew your coffee.  Then add all ingredients to coffee and blend.  The beef gelatin will make your coffee foam right up like a latte.  No whip cream necessary (but totally optional if you’re feelin’ it!  Or use coconut cream).  Pour into your fav mug and add a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the top.  Then get sippin’!

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

D's Go-To Green Smoothie

Also known as the "Basic AF" smoothie.  I'll be honest, my breakfast and lunch during the week tend to stay prettyyyyyy boring.  I usually have just about the same thing every day during the week.  I do this for a couple of reasons... 1). It doesn't bother me at all.  I don't get bored.  2.) It makes my daily routine and sticking to a healthy game plan that much easier because it takes the "think" out of it.  I'm used to making my go-to smoothie. so I prep it the night before and blend it in the mornin' and off I go.  No time wasted in the AM. 

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I do occasionally make modifications to get some new nutrients in there, but for the most part I can trust on old faithful here to get the job done and be on the go.  So now I will share it with you. :)

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Ingredients:

-2 cups spinach or kale

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-1/2 cucumber

-1/2 green apple

-4-5 frozen pineapple chunks (option to use cauliflower chunks instead for less sugar)

-1 tbsp Spirulina

-1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-3 dashes turmeric

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-2 scoops collagen peptides

-1/4 cup water

Instructions:  Just chop veggies/fruits and blend ingredients.  Because I prep the night before I will add the spinach or kale, cucumber, apple, spirulina, maca, chia and Ashwagandha and leave unblended.  Then in the morning I add the water and blend that.  After blending I add the pineapple, turmeric, pepper and collagen and blend once more. 

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Now you may be asking yourself, what the hell is with all the potions and powders?  I'll briefly discuss the benefits of all of these little gems in more detail.

Collagen Peptides:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human bod.  As we age, we stop making enough.  Adding collagen into the diet can help replenish some we've lost and is beneficial for gut health, digestion, hair, skin, nails, joints and bones.  

Spirulina:

A high protein, very nutrient-dense algae powder.  It also contains fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory benefits and many antioxidants.  Some studies suggest Spirulina may help with heavy metal toxicity and with allergies.

Maca Powder:

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable and very nutrient dense.  It has been associated with several hormonal balancing benefits.

Chia Seeds:

Another nutrient-dense "superfood," as they say... chia seeds are associated with benefits related to healthier skin, aging, digestion, energy and heart health.

Ashwagandha:

An herb commonly used in Ayurvedic healing or Chinese medicine.  It is often compared to ginseng for it's adaptogenic properties.  Associated benefits range from improved immune system to reductions in stress and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Feel free to use the "potions" or ditch 'em.  Get creative and add your own!  Feel free to share your recipes/modifications below. :)

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

What the Hell, "What the Health?"

So this will not be the most scientific of reviews, but more of me offering my personal, dietitian opinion (mini-rant) on this documentary since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my thoughts on it. 

Within the first 22 minutes I wanted to pull my hair out, but nonetheless, I perservered on for review purposes.  “Documentary” is such a loose term.  The problem with “documentaries” like these, i.e., “scare tactics,” is that they can be done irresponsibly and with so much bias it makes my head spin.  I don't mean to pick on, "What's the Health?" in particular because many documentaries use this method, but this one is current so yeah.. I'm going to pick on it.

First of all, processed meat isn’t great for us… WHAT??!! This is brand new information to me!!  ::Sarcasm::

Sorry, but this should have been kind of a, “DUH,” moment for most of us. 

No, processed meat isn’t GREAT.  I think the consensus has pretty much been that nothing processed is GREAT for us.  As a whole, I agree that we could stand to limit the quantity of meat and dairy in our diets.  Should we encourage eating more vegetables and plant-based foods?  HELL YES.  However, this documentary OBVIOUSLY has an agenda to frighten people into becoming vegan.  I am NOT anti-vegan.  If you want to be vegan because of beliefs or values or the animals or you feel better eating that way… ALL FOR IT.   DO YOU, BOO. 

However, please give people accurate, unbiased information so that they can make an educated decision for themselves.  If I wanted to convince you that a specific food causes cancer, I could more than likely dig up some obscure article that backs those findings and it’s probably sponsored by that food’s competitor.  Not everyone realizes that when they watch something like this, though.  Some people take it for face value and don’t do their own research to see if what they’re being sold even makes sense.  This documentary is insinuating that other companies or organizations are biased in telling you to eat more protein and meat and yet, “What the Health?” is hypocritically doing the same thing for the exact opposite purpose.     

Pictured here: Eggs, aka, Cigarettes... SIKE.

Pictured here: Eggs, aka, Cigarettes... SIKE.

Second of all… No, I don’t always think the government recommendations are exactly “up to par” and, yes, I think conflicts of interest may exist between pharmaceuticals and the government which is why I encourage others to take a more holistic approach to their health and choose whole, REAL foods most of the time.  I’m not going to get into the statistics used in this documentary to scare people (such as, comparing eggs to cigarettes ::insert upside down smiley emoji here::) because other articles have already done a fabulous job of debunking those stats.  Hit up Google for those. 

Thirdly… Anytime in the history of diets ever that we have excluded entire food groups it realllyyyyy hasn’t gone very well for us.  Allow me to refresh your memory… The low-fat diet.  And now everyone wants to be Ketogenic and eat ALL THE FAT.  The low-carb diet which resulted in Atkins which made everyone want steak and bacon all day long.  Basically, all of these equate to us eating more of other shit we don’t need to eat more of (I disclaimered this wouldn’t be scientific so I can say, “shit”) or something that we would later say DID NOT WORK for the general population.  

BALANCE GUYS.  To insinuate that eating mass quans of sugar and carbs is all good as long as you don’t eat meat is frustrating to hear.   So, we can eat biscuits and skittles everyday and in any quantity we want and it’ll be all good?   C’mon, at least encourage healthful carbohydrate sources when you’re insinuating something like this.   You know what a good carb source to eat more of is… VEGETABLES.  What about taking an approach of encouraging people to eat more vegetables and the benefits of doing that rather than trying to create fear of meat? 

To re-emphasize, I am not saying it’s wrong to be vegan or vegetarian and exclude meat.  My philosophy is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to nutrition and I know vegans and vegetarians who do so healthfully.  I know meat eaters who are healthy, too.  There are SO MANY factors that contribute to health outcomes.   A documentary supporting veganism is cool, but do so in a credible way.  This documentary almost discredits vegans by being over the top.

All this being said, "What the Health?" has been successful in doing what it set out to do.. get people talking.  The reason documentaries like these get so much attention is the same reason fad diets get attention.  Everyone just wants to hear that there’s a quick fix.  Stop eating meat and you’ll live forever (okay, I’m being dramatic, but this documentary is dramatic so we’re even).  The thing is guys… there hasn’t ever and there isn’t ever going to be a “quick fix.”  Eat whole, REAL foods MOST OF THE TIME.  Live an active lifestyle.  Take time to de-stress.  Work on building a healthy, long-term relationship with food through mindfulness. 

And most importantly… take information like this with a grain of salt (oooh… pun intended. I’m sorry, guys.  Lame joke.).  Do your own research.  Don’t jump on all the bandwagons.  And most importantly…

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Game Changer: Protein Pancakes

Whose weakness is pancakes?! ::raises hand:: How can ya not love these fluffy, delectable little thangs? Well, I shi--- kid* you not... these protein pancakes are life savers.  IMO they're just as good, if not better, than the real deal. And they're EASY to make.  They contain literately THREE ingredients, although, ya know I gotta doctor mine up.  So here's my recipe! Enjoy and let me know how much better your life is. 

 

PS- sorry vegans.. this one contains eggs. You can make vegan pancakes w bananas, though. Perhaps I'll get to that another time... 

 

Ingredients:

 

-1/2c cottage cheese 

-1/2c oats

-3 whole eggs 

-1 tsp vanilla extract 

-cinnamon 

 

Toppings:

 

-pecans

-blueberries

-extra cinnamon

-1 Tbsp organic maple syrup (optional) 

 

Instructions: Blend all of the ingredients in a blender/nutribullet, etc. Spray or oil a griddle/frying pan.  I spray with coconut oil. Light the burners on medium heat.  Wait about 1-2 mins or until a drop of water sizzles on the griddle.  When the temp is right, scoop a 1/4c serving of batter and pour onto the griddle or pan.  When the pancake is bubbled up on one side, flip to the other side.  Recipe makes approximately 6 pancakes.  Top with toppings listed or toppings of your choice! 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN